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By  Prof.  P.  GEDDES,  Outlook  Tower,  University  Hall,  Edinburgh, 
and  Laboratory  of  Civics,  Crosby  Hall,  Chelsea.  With  Illustra- 
tions by  F.  C.  MEARS,  Architect,  Edinburgh  and  Chelsea. 

THE  survey  of  Edinburgh  and  its  region  is  the  fundamental  purpose 
and  significance  of  the  Outlook  Tower,  from  the  collections  and  work 
of  which  the  exhibit  at  the  Royal  Academy  has  been  selected.  I  may 
best  describe  the  Tower  as  a  Civic  Observatory ;  and  despite  any  ap- 
pearance to  the  contrary,  as  primarily  concerned  with  that  survey  and 
interpretation  of  the  conditions  of  the  city  of  the  present,  of  which  the 
Rt.  Hon.  Charles  Booth's  classic  and  initiative  map  and  volumes 
upon  the  "  Life  and  Labour  of  London  "  are  the  great  example,  and 
Councillor  Marr's  Survey  of  Manchester,  Miss  Walker's  of  Dundee, 
or  Mr.  Rowntree's  study  of  York,  later  instances.  But  we  seek 
to  go  further  than  these  writers  have  done,  and  to  connect  our 
studies  of  contemporary  conditions  with  their  origins — local,  regional, 
and  general.  This  inquiry  we  find  requires,  first,  a  survey  of  our 
geographical  environment  in  its  fullest  and  deepest  aspects ;  secondly, 
a  survey  also  of  the  history  of  the  city  and  region,  and  of  Scotland  in 
particular ;  with  general  history  so  far  as  bearing  on  this,  and 
necessarily,  therefore,  from  the  earliest  beginnings  of  civilisation. 
Above  all,  we  are  thus  learning  to  view  history  not  as  mere 
archaeology,  not  as  mere  annals,  but  as  the  study  of  social  filiation. 
That  is,  the  determination  of  the  present  by  the  past ;  and  the  tracing 
of  this  process  in  the  phases  of  transformation,  progressive  or 
degenerative,  which  our  city  has  exhibited  throughout  its  various 
periods — Ancient,  Mediaeval,  Renaissance,  and  Industrial- — with  each 
of  these  in  its  earlier  and  its  later  developments.  We  seek  thus  to 
interpret  our  observations  of  the  present,  and  even  at  times  to  discern 
something  of  the  opening  future ;  for  that  also  is  already  incipient, 
as  next  season's  buds  are  already  here. 

Now  I  am  well  aware  that  such  a  detailed  and  comprehensive 
survey  of  a  city  is  necessarily  difficult  and  laborious,  though  not 
insuperably  so;  and  I  am,  therefore,  not  surprised  that  there  are 
still  students  and  fellow-workers  in  the  town-planning  movement 
who  hesitate  to  undertake  or  even  encourage  such  surveys,  lest  the 
good  and  urgent  work  on  which  we  are  here  and  now  so  conspicuously 
engaging  should  be  unduly  delayed,  if  not  misled  into  learned  irrele- 
vancies.  Let  us,  however,  for  the  moment,  waive  this  controversy ; 
since  your  presence  grants  me  that  you  have  some  little  leisure  to  look 
over  these  outlines  from  our  survey  in  this  Exhibition  with  an  unpre- 
judiced mind,  as  being,  at  any  rate,  of  intelligent  interest,  even  if  you 

N  N 

538    Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 

are  not  yet  convinced  of  its  obvious  and  immediate  use.  With  this 
moderate  claim  granted,  let  us  now  run  over  some  of  the  main 
phases  of  the  development  of  Edinburgh. 

[The  Catalogue  of  this  Edinburgh  Survey  may  here  with  advantage,  be  condensed, 
as  a  glance  over  its  contents  will  enable  the  reader  to  follow  this  outline  without 
more  of  its  illustrations  than  are  herewith  reproduced. 

By  Prof.  P.  GEDDES  and  F.  C.  MEARS,  Outlook  Tower,  Edinburgh. 

PRELIMINARY  NOTE. — This  Exhibit  is  a  developed  example  of  the  methods  of 
Survey  of  Cities  (Scottish,  English,  and  other)  in  progress  in  the  Outlook  Tower,  as 
applied  (a)  to  the  teaching  of  Civics,  (&)  to  Collegiate  developments  and  City  improve- 
ments. Its  significance  in  the  present  Exhibition  is  as  affording  evidence  of  the 
necessity,  practicability,  and  fruitfulness  of  a  clear  understanding  for  each  town  and 
city  (a)  of  its  geographical  situation,  (&)  of  its  development  (and  corresponding  decline) 
at  each  important  phase  of  its  history  from  earliest  to  most  recent  times.  Natural 
environment  is  thus  never  to  be  neglected  without  long-enduring  penalties.  Neither 
can  historic  phases  be  considered  as  past  and  done  with  ;  their  heritage  of  good,  their 
burden  of  evil,  are  each  traceable  in  our  complex  present  City  :  and  each  as  a 
momentum,  towards  betterment,  or  towards  deterioration  respectively.  As  these  lines 
of  development  and  deterioration  become  disclosed  by  our  survey,  the  task  of  practical 
civics  grows  correspondingly  clear,  both  for  municipal  statesmanship  and  for  indi- 
vidual and  associated  effort.  It  thus  becomes  evident  that  the  survey  should  be 
adequately  thorough,  both  as  regards  the  needs  of  City  Improvement  and  the  pos- 
sibilities of  City  Development.  The  suburban  extensions  and  the  industrial  develop- 
ments so  fully  illustrated  in  the  Town  Planning  schemes  around  us,  may  thus  be  aided 
in  many  ways,  and  guarded  against  many  risks  of  omission  or  error. 

Edinburgh  Survey  Exhibit :  General  Map ;  also  Photographic  Panorama,  and 
large  Frieze,  in  oil,  by  Eric  Robertson,  of  "  Old  Edinburgh  from  Outlook  Tower," 
showing  corrplex  modern  development  to  be  surveyed,  i.e.,  analysed  and  interpreted 
geographically,  historically,  socially,  etc. 

Site  of  Edinburgh. — Model,  by  Paul  Reclus,  in  true  relief — horizontal  and  vertical 
scales  the  same — showing  (i)  glaciated  surface,  (2)  ancient  tracks  avoiding  bad 
ground,  (3)  extent  of  walled  city,  (4)  position  of  New  Town. 

Relief  Model  of  Edinburgh  City,  in  relation  to  its  site,  before  advent  of  railways. 

Maps  of  Edinburgh  Region — ordnance,  orographical,  geological,  and  botanical. 

Corresponding  Relief  Model  and  Botanical  Survey  of  Scotland  :  with  reference 
maps  (also  in  relief)  of  larger  environment  of  England  and  Europe. 

Origins  of  Edinburgh. — Books  of  photographs  and  postcards  showing  primitive 
cultivation-terraces  :  also  (disappearing  or  contemporary)  shepherd,  peasant  and 
fisher-life  and  conditions. 

Perspective  of  Earliest  Edinburgh  as  Hill-Fort  associated  with  Sea-Port  (Leith), 
and  with  agricultural  plain  of  Lothian. 

Comparison  with  Athens  :  Piraeus-Acropolis  (port-fort)  type  not  infrequent  in 

Bird's-eye  View  of  Forth  Estuary,  showing  early  advantages  and  disadvantages 
of  situation  of  Edinburgh. 

Section  across  head  of  Old  Town,  showing  necessary  sites  of  walls  ;  thus  early 
origins  of  congestion  of  recent  (and  present)  times.  Note  also  deficient  water-supply, 

Plan  of  Early  Mediaeval  City  :  with  Plan  of  Elgin,  closely  analogous. 

Remains  of  Terraces,  their  retaining  walls  adapted  to  mediaeval  defence,  now 
being  gardened  again. 

Style  of  mediaeval  housing,  arcaded  and  galleried  with  illustrative  photographs,  etc. 
("  Open-Air  Treatment  "). 

Procession  of  the  History  of  Scotland,  by  W.  G.  Burn  Murdoch. 

Bird's-eye  View  about  1450,  showing  mediaeval  development  of  Castle  and  Royal 
burgh,  with  Holyrood  Abbey  and  beginnings  of  aristocratic  burgh  of  Canon-gait. 

Corresponding  Plan  showing  City  walls  and  their  extension,  development  of  "  Nor 
Loch  "  as  partial  moat,  also  growth  of  ecclesiastical  foundations  outside  walls.  Note 
also  extension  of  "  Flodden  Wall  "  after  1513.  To  this  is  directly  traceable  the  long 
overcrowding  and  underhousing  of  Edinburgh,  with  high  rents  and  land  values  :  a 
marked  influence  also  in  Scotland,  and  on  industrial  age  therefrom.  [Note  analogous 
evil  influence  now  radiating  through  U.S.A.,  &c.,  from  narrow  site  of  New  York 

The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh.  539 

Castle  before  siege  of  1573,  by  Bruce  J.  Home. 

Siege  of  1573  (old  print).  Decisive  in  Annals  of  Edinburgh  (and  of  Reformation) 
as  main  defeat  of  Party  of  Queen  Mary  (Catholic  and  of  French  Alliance)  :  victory 
of  Calvinism,  with  tendencies  towards  England. 

View  of  Edinburgh,  1647.     [Note  Gardens  of  late  Renaissance  fashion.] 
i.  Plan  of  Edinburgh — i7th  century — after  Reformation  and  the  Union  of  Crowns. 
[Note  crowded   insanitary  town  of  high-built   stone  houses  still   sheltering  behind 
"  Flodden  Wall  "  of  1513.     Ecclesiastical  properties  devoted  to  secular  uses — largely 
educational.     Departure  of  courtiers  and  stagnation  of  trade.] 

ii.  The  West  Bow  :  ancient  principal  approach  to  the  town  from  the  South  and 
West,  destroyed  1820-30.  Its  peculiar  form  was  probably  conditioned  by  cultivation 
terraces  utilised  for  strategic  use. 

Bird's-eye  View  from  Slezer's  Theatrum  Scotice,  1690.  [Note  town  still  confined 
to  its  ridge.  Gardens  now  in  Dutch  fashion.] 

Plans  showing  developments,  1688-1765.  With  revival  of  agriculture  and  weaving, 
along  with  increasing  oversea  trade,  following  the  Union  of  Parliaments,  there  come 
the  first  small  attempts  at  formal  planning.  Small  courts  are  opened  up  and  squares 
and  streets  laid  out ;  but  mainly  within  the  traditional  fortified  area. 

Decay  of  Old  Edinburgh  following  the  building  of  suburbs  to  North  and  South. 
This  decay  began  with  the  removal  of  the  Court  to  London,  and,  a  century  later,  of 
the  Parliament. 

Moray  House  ;  as  best  surviving  example  of  mansions  of  nobles  of  Renaissance  ; 
now  a  Training  College. 

Greyfriars'  Churchyard  ;  (becomes  Campo  Santo  of  Presbyterianism)  Note 
Martyrs'  .Monument,  etc. 

The  Crown  of  St.  Giles. 

The  New  Town  and  the  Railway  Age. — Craig's  Plan  for  New  Town,  1765. 

Map  of  Edinburgh  (1778)  showing  New  Town  in  course  of  building. 

North  Bridge  and  Earthen  Mound  as  exists  from  Old  Town  to  New. 

Stages  of  development  of  Formal  Town,  1767-1900. 

City  Plan  (1829)  showing  formal  developments  as  planned  ;  not  all  executed,  owing 
to  breakdown  of  system,  e.g.  : — 

i,  ii,  iii,  iv,  v.  Five  competitive  Plans  (1817)  for  area  of  Calton  Hill  and  north- 
wards to  Leith. 

Photo  of  this  area,  showing  park  frontage  as  designed,  with  breakdown  behind. 

National  Monument,  etc.,  on  Calton  (unfinished),  showing  classical  taste  of 
period.  Note  also — 

"Battle  of  the  Styles."  Calton  Monuments  arranged  as  (earlier)  Classic  and  (later) 

Illustrations  of  Period  of  Improvement  of  Communications  :  age  of  Civil  En- 

Types  of  Improvement  before  Railway  Period — bridges,  viaducts,  embankments. 

Photos  of  these,  culminating  in  Forth  Bridge  :  this  is  a  natural,  i.e.  logical  as  well 
as  regional,  development. 

Plan  for  New  Communications  (1855)  :  a  typical  example  of  profuse  utilitarian 
extravagance  with  corresponding  a3sthetics  (e.g.  note  chimney  disguised  as  pagoda). 

Modern  (late  Victorian)  Edinburgh,  showing  panoramic  contrast  of  Old  and  New 
Towns  and  their  respective  utilisation  of  sites.  Note  combination  yet  contrast  of 
historic  and  artistic  sentiment  with  modern  and  utilitarian  practicality.  (This 
apparent  paradox  of  Scottish  character  is  thus  but  a  typical  example  of  the  interaction 
of  individual  life  with  history,  of  citizen  and  city  everywhere.) 

Advent  of  Railway  Age. — Map  showing  present  extent  of  railways,  stations, 
sidings,  etc.,  also  tramways 

Photos  showing  modest  beginnings,  1837-43,  an<^  onwards  to  present  vast  develop- 

Panorama  of  station  roof  ("  smoke-hall,"  "  halle  a  fume*e  "  of  M.  Rey)  :  cul- 
minating example  of  "  utilitarian  "  extravagance  and  unwholesomeness. 

The  Valley  as  it  might  have  been.    (By  Bruce  J.  Home.) 

Map  of  Industrial  Areas.  These  now  surround  the  formally  planned  area,  having 
grown  up  haphazard  (yet  in  vicious  circle)  with  the  development  of  railways.  Observe 
the  necessary  effect  of  the  prevailing  winds.  Note  also  large  areas  tinted  blue — 
devoted  to  treatment  of  disease,  poverty,  etc.  :  these  in  large  proportion  due  to 
defective  (unplanned)  environment. 

Municipal  Report:  "  Edinburgh  as  a  Site  for  Factories  and  Industrial  Works 

Here  return  to  Railway  Map.  Note  "  Innocent  Railway,"  S.W.  of  Arthur's  Seal. 
This  is  the  oldest  line  entering  Edinburgh  direct  from  the  Midlothian  Coalfield  ;  and 
it  might  well  have  been  developed  rather  than  existing  lines  had  town  planning  not 


540    Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 

been  lost  sight  of.  It  is  upon  this  coalfield,  and  therefore  to  east  and  not  west  of  the 
present  Edinburgh,  that  the  industrial  garden  villages  and  towns  of  the  future  must 
arise,  and  this  for  every  reason  of  economy,  health,  and  amenity,  etc.  An  indication 
of  this  (though  unfortunately  as  yet  unplanned)  is  afforded  by  the  growing  brewery 
village  of  New  Duddingston. 

The  two  ways  of  looking  at  old  Edinburgh  : 

Squalor  and  Romance. 

Photographs  recording  the  appalling  (still  tolerated)  squalor  of  the  Old  Town 
buildings,  and  correspondingly  of  its  slum  life  This  mainly  accepted  as  a  permanent 
supply  of  material  for  charity,  medicine,  anatomy,  and  religious  endeavour. 

"  Old  Edinburgh  Street  "  of  International  Exhibition  of  1886. 

Revivals  in  Religious  Architecture. 

Restoration  of  Castle. 

Classical  Revival  revived  :  e.g.  Proposed  completion  of  National  Monument. 

Strata  of  Edinburgh,  New  and  Old. — Uppermost  row  :  Superficial,  or  Tourist 

Best  of  New  Town  ;  status  and  culture,  wealth  and  appearances. 

Breakdown  of  Formal  Plan.  Unfinished  ends  ;  workshops — the  latter  not  pro- 
vided for. 

Workshops  behind  present-day  tenements. 

Old  cottages  neglected,  falling  into  ruin. 

Squalid  life  of  back  streets  overcrowded  and  unclean. 

Photos  of  villas  of  various  dates,  1800-1900  :  corresponding  survival  or  admixture 
of  classical  and  romantic  traditions,  all  lapsing  alike. 

"  The  long  unlovely  street  " — Photos  recording  miles  of  tenement  rows  with 
further  decadence  of  rival  styles.  This  essential  continuance  of  the  historic  over- 
crowding of  Edinburgh  has  been  and  still  is  encouraged  and  maintained  by  its 
educational  trusts  acting  as  ground  landlords,  in  the  supposed  interest  of  the  develop- 
ment of  the  child  life  of  Edinburgh  ! 

Higher  Education  Developments. — University  Buildings,  Extra-Mural  Schools, 
Museums,  etc. 

University  Union,  proposed  Halls  of  "  Academic  Nations  " — Indian,  Africander, 
Australasian,  Canadian,  and  West  Indian,  etc.  Each  as  a  needed  centre  of  legitimate 
individuality  and  of  national  dignity,  within  solidarity  of  Empire  and  of  Education. 

College  of  Art.  Virtually  a  new  Faculty  of  the  University,  and  this  of  the  highest 
civic  potentiality,  as  the  present  Town  Planning  Exhibition  shows. 

Edinburgh  as  a  Collegiate  City. — While  the  three  other  Universities  of  Scotland 
are  mediaeval  foundations,  Edinburgh  University  dates  from  1582 — nearly  a  generation 
after  the  Reformation.  Hence  no  collegiate  residences  were  established,  and  pious 
founders — Heriot  and  others,  to  Fettes — preferred  to  erect  schools,  often  palatial. 
For  these  reasons  the  first  hostel  or  Hall  of  Residence  in  Edinburgh  dates  only  from 
1887,  and  arose  in  due  continuation  of  the  tradition  of  student  independence  and 
responsibility,  as  self-governing  groups  without  a  Warden. 

Outlook  Tower,  acquired  in  1892  as  centre  of  post-graduate  studies,  experimental 
education,  civic  improvement,  etc. 

This  scheme  is  not  one  of  collegiate  development 'independently  of  the  existing 
city  and  by  replacement  of  its  buildings,  as  in  older  collegiate  systems.  On  the  con- 
trary, it  seeks  (on  grounds  alike  economic  and  historic)  to  conserve  and  incorporate 
existing  buildings,  and  is  at  once  conservative  as  regards  Town  and  constructive  as 
regards  Gown.  It  carries  on  the  preservation  and  repair  of  ancient  buildings  (see 
Riddle's  Court,  etc.),  and  the  incorporation  and  adaptation  of  historic  houses  (Allan 
Ramsay's  Lodge,  Ramsay  Garden,  etc.). 

Watercolour  Perspectives  show  extension  of  scheme  from  Esplanade  to  Bank  of 
Scotland  and  thence  eastwards  as  circumstances  permit  to  Holyrood  and  Cnoft-an- 
Righ.  The  full  scheme  of  "  Town  and  Gown  "  may  now  be  understood  :  in  quality 
and  in  quantity,  from  the  Map  of  Historic  Buildings  of  Old  Edinburgh,  and  the 
corresponding  perspectives  ranging  from  Castle  to  Holyrood. 

Growth  of  Edinburgh.      Nowhere  more  need  of  garden  villages,   yet  practical 
reluctance  to  abandon  crowded  tenement  habit. 
Small  Garden  Village,   erected  1895. 
Garden  Village  near  Murray-field  (1900). 

Open  Spaces  as  Gardens  and  Playgrounds. — Survey  of  Open  Spaces  in  Old  Town 
(75  pieces,  10  acres),  now  being  reclaimed  into  gardens  as  circumstances  allow. 
Vacant  Lands  Survey  of  Environs  :  about  450  unused  acres. 

Holyrood  and  its  Environment.     Actual  and   Possible. 

The  realisation  of  this  scheme  is  thus  well  advanced  ;  and  in  view  of  the  possible 
renewal  of  Holyrood  as  a  royal  residence,  it  gains  in  urgency,  especially  when  com- 
pared with  schemes  less  conservative  of  its  historic  setting. 

The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh.  541 

Map  of  City,  with  emphasis  on  Natural  Site  as  at  starting  point ;  insistence  on 
its  geographic  features. 

Experimental  Sketches  towards  completion  of  Survey  by  corresponding  "  Report 
on  City  Development."  This  to  be  in  utmost  practicable  accordance  with  natural 
environment  as  with  historic  heritage,  with  economic  prosperity,  and  with  social  and 
cultural  evolution,  at  once  individual  and  civic. 

Example  from  Report  of  suggested  Symbol  of  returning  unity  and  activity,  at  a 
main  point  of 'Old  Edinburgh,  midway  between  churches  of  all  denominations — 
Statue  of  St.  Columba. 

Model  of  City  Cross.  Demolished  1756,  partially  re-erected  by  the  good  offices 
of  Sir  Walter  Scott,  finally  re-erected  by  W.  E.  Gladstone  and  again  restored  to  public 
uses.  Hence  this  Cross  is  peculiarly  fitting  as  a  symbol  not  only  of  Citizenship,  but 
of  Civic  Revivance  ;  and  as  complementing  the  Relief  Models  of  Edinburgh,  with  their 
expression  of  the  material  origins  of  the  Town,  by  a  corresponding  expression  of  the 
deeper  and  inner  evolution  of  the  City.  The  many-sided  activities  of  a  great  city, 
spiritual  and  social,  educational  and  hygienic,  architectural  and  industrial — or  most 
simply  ideal  and  material — all  these  may  be  fitly  symbolised  upon  the  many  sides  of 
this  characteristic  building  as  aspects  of  a  real  unity,  and  this  again,  by  the  shaft  of 
the  Cross,  as  an  ascent  of  life  towards  expression — civic  and  national. 

Yet  as  each  phase  of  development  of  our  Survey  has  come  and  gone,  so  in  turn 
may  this  presentment  of  it.  All  surveys  need  perpetual  renewal ;  and  our  final  exhibit 
is  thus  : — 

The  Outlook  Tower — here  reduced  to  its  simplest  expression  :  that  in  which  it 
may  be  adapted  by  anyone  to  the  problems  and  the  tasks  presented  by  his  own  environ- 
ment, his  own  region  and  City.] 

Let  me  recall  in  outline  the  general  topography  of  old  Edin- 
burgh— a  great  volcanic  rock — the  surviving  lava-plug  of  a  crater 
worn  away  by  the  Ice  Age,  and  with  a  long  ridge  or  "  tail  "  running 
downhill  eastwards  from  the  "  crag  "  to  low  ground  at  the  foot  of 
Salisbury  Crags  and  Arthur's  Seat.  Thus,  from  our  fairly  lofty 
Outlook  Tower,  almost  at  the  apex  of  the  ridge,  we  command  a  view 
at  once  of  the  rock  and  its  huge  castle  to  the  westward,  and  of  the 
old  city  running  down  the  ridge  to  the  east.  The  seaport  of  Leith 
is  on  the  coast  to  northward,  and  the  New  Town  lies  between  ;  while 
nearer  still,  betwixt  us  and  the  varied  facades  of  Princes  Street,  lies 
the  valley  of  the  old  "Nor'  Loch."  This  valley  is  now  a  public 
garden,  intersected  longitudinally  by  a  railway,  and  transversely  by 
the  earthen  Mound  with  its  Art  Galleries,  and  further  east  by  the 
North  Bridge,  under  which  lies  the  vast  station  into  which  the 
railway  line  expands.  Southward  the  city  also  extends  for  a  couple 
of  miles  along  each  of  the  main  roads  to  the  south  and  south-west ; 
so  that  the  historic  Castle  and  Old  Town  remain  as  a  central  head 
and  backbone  of  the  irregularly  spread  modern  growth.  Thus,  while 
people  still  think  and  speak  of  Edinburgh  mainly  in  terms  of  its 
mediaeval  and  renaissance  "  Old  Town,"  and  its  eighteenth-century 
"  New  Town,"  the  modern  Edinburgh  and  Leith  extend  far  around 
these  in  all  directions,  and  include  a  population  which  is  now  nearly 
approaching  half  a  million,  which  seems  destined  to  considerable 
further  expansion,  and  which  is  thus  in  need  of  fuller  consideration, 
economic,  hygienic,  and  civic,  than  it  has  yet  received.  In  short, 
Edinburgh  plainly  exhibits  both  the  great  problems — of  central  and 
of  suburban  developments — which  are  before  the  present  Conference  ; 
we  shall  see  that  these  require  at  once  forethought  as  regards  their 
future,  and  retrospect  for  their  origins ;  and  how  each  is  helped  by 
the  other. 

From  the  very  outset  of  our  survey  of  a  city,  we  must  observe  and 
understand   it   in   its   region.     Our  Tower   overlooks   the   city   both 

542  Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 

within  its  immediate  and  its  greater  landscape.  The  first  of  these 
ranges  from  the  Pentland  Hills  to  the  Firth  of  Forth,  and  shows  the 
city  fringed  at  each  level  with  the  appropriate  rustic  life,  from  the 
sportsman's  solitudes  and  pastoral  hamlets  of  the  Pentland  slopes,  as 
notably  R.  L.  Stevenson's  Swanston,  through  the  agricultural  and 
the  mining  villages  of  the  Lothian  plain  to  the  characteristic  fishing 
ones  along  the  coast.  Thus  the  real  country  is  accessible  on  every 
hand,  and  its  villages  are  not  yet  the  mere  suburban  dormitories  into 
which  those  around  London  and  other  great  cities  have  so  largely 
become  transformed.  Yet  this  landscape  is  but  a  fraction  of  the  larger 
visible  whole.  To  north  and  east  we  have  the  widening  estuary  of 
the  Firth  of  Forth,  with  Fife  and  its  towns  upon  the  opposite  shore. 
Westward,  the  Forth  Bridge  is  seen  overleaping  the  mile  of  the  old 
Queen's  Ferry ;  beyond  this  lies  the  old  yet  renewing  city  of  Dun- 
fermline,  just  now  adding  to  itself  what  we  trust  may  soon  be  the 
paragon  of  town  planning,  the  great  Naval  Base  of  Rosyth.  The 
spacious  anchorage  of  the  Upper  Forth  has  also  its  mercantile  ports. 
Finally,  far  beyond  Stirling,  the  great  Highland  Hills  rise  against 
the  sunset.  Thus  one  readily  realises  the  situation  of  Edinburgh  as 
making  it  a  convenient  metropolis  of  its  region;  and  were  this 
primarily  a  company  of  geographers,  of  historians,  or  politicians,  I 
might  show  the  bearing  upon  the  past  life  and  present  influence  of 
our  city  of  every  detail  I  have  mentioned,  and  of  far  more. 

For  town  planning  we  naturally  wish  to  concentrate  upon  our 
essential  and  central  outlook  of  the  city  itself.  Yet  we  cannot  trace 
our  city  from  its  early  beginnings  upon  the  castle  rock  without  under- 
standing it  as  a  hill-fort  associated  with  a  sea-port,  as  well  as  with 
the  agricultural  plain  of  Lothian ;  and  as  arising  after  the  departure 
of  the  Romans,  as  a  defence  against  the  incursions  of  the  Northmen. 
Indeed,  to  understand  a  city  of  this  type  we  must  go  further  afield 
than  ever.  Hence  the  comparison,  side  by  side,  of  Edinburgh  and 
Athens — each  plainly  a  hill-fort  associated  at  once  with  a  sea-port, 
and  with  an  agricultural  plain.  This  combination  of  an  Acropolis 
with  its  Piraeus  and  its  Attica,  is  common  throughout  Mediterranean 
Europe,  though  less  frequent  in  the  north ;  and  such  a  threefold  co- 
operation is  conducive  alike  to  agricultural  efficiency,  to  maritime 
enterprise  and  commerce,  and  to  regional  as  well  as  civic  culture. 
Thus  we  see  the  traditional  comparison  of  Edinburgh  with  Athens 
has  really  little  to  do  with  our  eighteenth  and  nineteenth-century 
imitations  of  Greek  temples  or  Greek  sophistries,  but  lies  far  deeper, 
in  geographical  and  historical  origins.  [See  figs,  i,  2,  3,  4,  5.] 

The  Roman  occupation  had  no  use  for  Edinburgh,  though  its 
defences  and  monuments  are  not  far  to  seek  around.  Yet  at 
least  one  far  older,  indeed  pre-historic,  survival  remains  significant 
through  the  ages,  and  is  even  beginning  to  renew  its  old-world  life  in 
these  present  years.  Every  rambler  round  Arthur's  Seat  must  notice 
the  long  range  and  succession  of  pre-historic  cultivation  terraces  which 
rise  like  a  gigantic  stairway  upon  its  gentle  and  sheltered  eastward 
slope — terraces  unmistakably  of  the  same  essential  build  as  those  which 
line  the  Mediterranean  coasts  from  Spain  and  Portugal  to  Palestine, 
and  thence  run  eastward  through  Persia  to  Korea.  Traces  of  what 
are  plainly  kindred  terraces,  and  better  situated  ones,  are  still 

The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh 




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548  Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct. 

discernible  upon  the  southward  slope  of  old  Edinburgh ;  and  the 
architect  of  historic  interests  need  hardly  be  reminded  how,  as  our 
survey  illustrates,  these  old  terraces  have  constantly  furnished  the 
base-line  for  fortress  walls  in  the  middle  age ;  yet  how  they  also 
developed  into  the  stately  Renaissance  terrace-gardens  of  the  succeed- 
ing and  more  pleasure-loving  time.  Our  survey  shows  these  terraces 
taken  from  their  immemorial  peaceful  use  to  afford  the  lines  and  bases 
for  successive  city  walls  [fig.  6],  with  at  least  one  great  defensive 
bastion — that  of  the  West  Bow.  We  find  them  next  becoming  built 
over,  or,  where  surviving  at  all,  largely  deteriorating  into  slum  areas, 
sometimes  even  derelict,  their  very  ownership  forgotten  ;  yet  at  length, 
as  we  shall  see  on  one  of  the  later  sheets  of  this  survey,  becoming  once 
more  renewed  as  gardens  for  the  people  [fig.  17].  Thus,  after  long 
ages  of  warlike  history,  our  women  and  children  are  returning  to  their 
gentle  tasks  of  old,  their  setting  of  herb  and  tending  of  flower.  This  is 
but  a  small  example,  yet,  I  venture  to  say,  a  vital  one,  of  the  renewing 
modern  life  and  use  of  even  what  may  have  been  a  forgotten 
past :  in  this  case,  the  very  longest  forgotten.  We  shall  see,  as  we 
proceed,  that  one  survival  after  another  becomes  in  its  turn  similarly 
significant,  and  thus  learn  how  the  soil  of  the  past  teems  with 
its  dormant  seeds,  each  ready  to  leap  into  life  anew,  be  this  as  weed 
or  flower. 

My  able  colleague,  Mr.  F.  C.  Mears,  has  here  reconstructed,  by 
help  of  surviving  fragments  as  well  as  of  tradition,  the  type  of  dwelling 
of  Edinburgh  in  the  Middle  Ages — long  before  the  days  of  its  high- 
piled  tenements — as  a  dwelling  with  arcaded  ground-level  and  galleried 
first  floor.  Such  a  house  plainly  exceeds,  in  its  facilities  for  outdoor 
work  and  open-air  treatment,  the  cottages  of  any  garden  suburb 
to-day,  and  will  encourage  those  who,  in  these  days  of  camping  out, 
are  beginning  to  do  the  like  at  home.  Of  late  years  the  eminent 
medical  history  of  Edinburgh  has  been  renewing  itself  as  regards  con- 
sumption. Long  an  extreme  centre  of  this  disease,  it  has  become  a 
correspondingly  eminent  centre  for  its  treatment ;  and  my  architect- 
collaborator,  an  expert  in  open-air  schools,  is  thus  deriving  fresh 
inspiration  from  the  long  libelled  Middle  Ages.  [See  fig.  7,  A.B.] 

Next,  our  section  across  the  head  of  the  old  town  [fig.  6]  shows  the 
terraces  as  the  necessary  sites  of  successive  walls,  and  thus  explains 
the  early  origins  of  that  congestion  of  recent  and  even  present  times, 
which  is  still  so  serious  a  difficulty  for  Edinburgh.  For  though  the 
walls  are  forgotten,  the  resultant  land-values  remain  not  a  little  pro- 
hibitive. It  explains,  again,  that  deficient  water-supply  which  was 
so  long  an  efficient  cause  of  the  historic  dirt  of  old  Edinburgh ;  while 
this  dirt  and  that  overcrowding,  with  their  accompanying  intensity 
and  increasing  variety  of  disease,  have  been  prime  factors  in  the 
development  of  Edinburgh  as  once  and  again  the  metropolis  of 
medicine,  just  as  the  fire  calls  out  the  fireman's  powers,  the  wreck  the 
sailor's.  It  is  by  no  mere  accident  that  Pasteur,  and  his  foremost 
disciple  Lister,  should  have  been  aroused  to  their  cleansing  tasks  in 
the  midst  of  cities  so  pre-eminent  in  their  overcrowding,  their  dirt 
and  disease,  as  old  Paris  and  old  Edinburgh.  Thus  our  city  surveys 
are  continually  bringing  out  the  strange  alternation  and  interaction 
of  good  and  evil,  evil  and  good. 

FlG.    7   A,    B. 



550  Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 

Take,  now,  our  later  perspective  [fig.  8]  and  views  of  Edinburgh  at 
the  conclusion  of  the  Middle  Ages  and  the  coming  on  of  the  Reforma- 
tion. Just  as  the  Reformation  in  England  was  a  generation  later  than 
in  Germany,  so  in  Scotland  it  was  a  generation  later  still ;  and  hence 
an  intensification  of  the  wars  between  England  and  Scotland.  Recall, 
now,  what  to  an  Englishman  seems  a  well-nigh  forgotten  incident, 
the  battle  of  Flodden  in  1513,  so  disastrous  to  Edinburgh  that  tra- 
ditionally only  one  survivor  returned ;  and  then  see,  on  the  remains 
of  the  Flodden  Wall,  thereafter  hastily  pushed  out  beyond  the  then 
existing  ones,  the  marks  of  hurried  and  unskilled  building  against 
the  threatened  invasion  by  the  victor.  This  invasion,  however,  did 
not  come  off  for  another  generation ;  then  note  what  follows  in  our 
survey,  with  its  reproduction  of  the  drawing,  presumably  by  the  war 
correspondent  accompanying  the  Earl  of  Hertford's  invasion  of  1544, 
and  showing  his  advance  to  the  taking  and  destruction  of  Edinburgh. 
Now  realise  the  immediate  consequence  of  such  repeated  calamities 
(and  there  were  far  more) — a  community  twice  denuded  of  its  active 


men — fathers  and  sons  swept  away  in  two  successive  generations, 
with  few  save  women,  children,  and  old  men  left,  and  with  un- 
numbered fugitives  from  the  devastated  country  crowding  in,  time 
after  time,  to  take  shelter  behind  the  walls.  Here,  then,  are  con- 
ditions, among  the  most  intense  in  history,  for  that  evolution  of  over- 
crowding and  squalor,  with  their  attendant  and  complicating  evils, 
which  to  this  day  are  the  reproach  of  old  Edinburgh.  I  am  only  too 
well  aware  that  in  peaceful  England,  with  its  mostly  unwalled  cities, 
and  above  all  here  in  London,  which  has  known  no  such  tragedies, 
not  even  at  the  Conquest,  her  people  are  honestly  incredulous  that 
such  far-away  incidents  can  continue  to  matter.  Here  let  me  appeal 
to  our  foreign  visitors.  What  Frenchman,  what  German  here  does 
not  know  how  terrific  and  enduring  have  been  the  effects  of  war? 
Who  does  not  know  it  as  a  commonplace  of  German  history  that  the 
prosperity  and  growth  of  cities  in  the  past  generation  are  often  but 
their  first  substantial  recovery,  since  the  widespread  ruin  and 
calamities  of  the  Thirty  Years'  War,  of  the  Burning  of  the  Palatinate, 
of  even  older  as  well  as  newer  tragedies. 

The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh.  551 

The  complex  strife  and  civil  wars  of  the  Reformation  are  recalled 
in  other  battle-pictures.  Little  more  than  a  generation  later  we  have 
again  a  largely  ruinous  disaster  to  Edinburgh  as  the  metropolis,  in 
the  accession  of  King  James  VI.  to  the  English  crown.  In  less  than 
another  generation  and  a  half  begin  the  new  calamities  of  civil  war, 
of  Cromwellian  defeats  and  occupation;  then,  again,  after  the  Restora- 
tion, the  ruthless  persecution  of  the  Covenanters,  with  practically 
a  renewing  of  the  Civil  Wars  under  Charles  II.  and  James  II.  Next, 
the  difficulties  of  the  Revolution  of  1688;  and  yet  again  a  ruin  of 
Edinburgh  as  the  centre  of  Parliament  (and  its  expenditures)  by  the 
Union  of  the  Parliaments  in  1707,  while  following  upon  this  came 
successively  the  collapse  of  Scottish  Imperialism  in  the  Darien  scheme, 
and  the  Civil  Wars  of  1715  and  1745.  Each  of  these  events,  at  the 
time  tragic  enough,  is  more  or  less  recorded  in  the  monuments  and 
buildings  of  our  survey,  or  in  the  ruins  and  dilapidations  of  these ;  and 
the  conception  thus  grows  clearer  of  one  of  the  most  distressful  of 
old  countries,  in  which  each  and  all  the  evils  destructive  of  historic 
cities  have  raged  by  turns,  if  not  together,  and  that  repeatedly,  seldom 
sparing  a  generation  from  the  thirteenth  century  to  well  on  in  the 
eighteenth.  The  impassioned  and  adventurous  Scot,  colonising  or 
militant,  political  and  ruling,  and  the  canny  Scot,  cautious  and  reserved 
to  an  extravagant  degree,  who  by  turns  appear  to  the  romantic  or 
the  practical  Englishman  as  the  essential  and  predominant  Scottish 
type,  have  thus  both  been  developed  in  such  a  troubled  environment, 
the  one  by  facing  it  among  his  fellows,  the  other  by  shrinking  into  his 
own  small  affairs ;  and  the  strange  yet  constant  alternations  of  our 
Edinburgh  architecture — here  of  picturesqueness,  there  of  utilitarian 
plainness — thus  appear  as  the  natural  and  necessary  expressions  in 
architecture  of  these  contrasted  social  types.  Architecture  and  town 
planning  in  such  a  city,  we  thus  plainly  see,  are  not  the  mere  products 
of  the  quiet  drawing-office  some  here  would  have  them  ;  they  are  the 
expressions  of  the  local  history,  the  civic  and  national  changes  of 
mood  and  contrasts  of  mind.  Here,  indeed,  I  submit  is  an  answer 
to  those  town  planners  who  design  a  shell,  and  then  pack  their  snail 
of  a  would-be  progressive  city  into  it,  not  discerning  that  the  only 
real  and  well-fitting  shell  is  that  which  the  creature  at  its  growing 
periods  throws  out  from  its  own  life.  This  is  no  doctrine  of  laissez 
faire ;  it  is  simply  the  recognition  that  each  generation,  and  in  this, 
each  essential  type  and  group  of  it,  must  express  its  own  life,  and 
thus  make  its  contribution  to  its  city  in  its  own  characteristic  way. 

Returning  to  the  elementary  standpoint  of  town  planning,  the 
growth  of  our  medieval  town  may  now  be  traced  downwards,  from 
the  Castle  and  its  vacant  space — the  military  zone  of  a  bow-shot 
distance — beyond  which  we  descend  by  the  steep  Castle  Wynd,  now  a 
staircase,  to  the  spacious  old  Grassmarket,  from  the  earliest  times  the 
agricultural  import  centre  of  the  city  until  the  removal  of  our  cattle- 
markets  this  very  autumn  [figs.  4,  5,  6,  8,  9].  At  the  same  point 
begins  the  narrow  Castlehill,  the  earliest  suburb,  and  evidently  at  the 
outset  a  mean  one.  This  soon  widens,  however,  into  the  spacious 
Lawnmarket  and  High  Street,  100  feet  broad,  formerly  arcaded  on 
either  side — in  its  day,  as  the  letters  of  French  or  Venetian  Ambas- 
sadors in  Scotland  show,  the  stateliest  street  in  Europe  [fig.  9] .  To 

552    Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 

meet  the  gate  of  this  Old  Edinburgh  midway  down  the  ridge,  there 
begins,  uphill  from  Holyrood  Abbey,  the  Canon-gait — from  the  first 
a  garden  suburb,  and  after  the  plunder  of  the  Reformation  especially 
largely  made  up  of  the  mansions  of  the  nobles,  a  few  of  which  survive 
to  this  day  [figs.  8  and  9] . 





Note,  next,  outside  the  wall  zone  to  the  south,  the  situations  taken 
up  by  the  various  orders  of  Friars.  Then,  as  students  of  history,  see 
how  their  old  preaching  intensity  renews  in  that  of  the  Reformation 







The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh. 


and  the  Covenant  once  and  again  in  later  times.  For  to  this  day  the 
"  Old  Greyfriars  "  Churchyard  is  the  Campo  Santo  of  Scotland ;  and 
this  again  has  made  Edinburgh  the  successor  of  Geneva  as  the  central 
and  sacred  city  of  the  Calvinist  world.  And  of  more  than  Calvinism  : 
this  very  year  even  London  has  heard  of  the  "  World's  Missionary 
Congress,"  with  its  five  thousand  pilgrims  in  conclave  from  well-nigh 
all  lands  and  denominations. 

Note,  again,  how  it  is  in  this  very  area  we  trace  the  beginnings 
and  still  possess  the  development  of  the  University,  of  hospitals,  and 
great  schools  [fig.  n].  Compare  this  now  with  the  plan  of  Oxford, 
and  see  how  colleges  arose  in  the  exactly  corresponding  sites  vacated 
by  the  Friars  outside  the  walls.  Thence  go  back  to  a  plan  of  earlier 
type  still — that  of  Florence — and  note  its  two  great  poles  of  tradition  in 
religion  and  culture,  and  thus  in  art  and  architecture,  afforded  by  the 
same  Friars,  grey  and  black,  at  Santa  Maria  and  Santa  Croce.  As 
before,  in  comparison  with  ancient  Athens,  so  now  with  notable 

(With  revival  of  industry  and  trade  following  the  Union  of  Parliaments  came  the  first  small  attempts 
at  planning  on  "  Classic  "  lines.      Small  courts  were  opened  up  and  squares  and  streets  laid  out. 
Still  no  serious  attempt  is  made  to  extend  beyond  the  traditional  fortified  area). 

mediaeval  cities,  British  and  foreign,  we  see  how  our  town  studies 
throw  light  upon  their  ancient  plans.  Their  apparent  medley  is  more 
orderly  than  we  knew ;  their  unique  physiognomy  but  the  individual 
variant  of  some  general  type. 

Enough,  now,  of  Mediaeval  and  Renaissance  Edinburgh.  Let  us 
come  to  the  Modern  world,  in  the  main,  as  we  know  it,  Utilitarian 
and  Industrial ;  this,  as  elsewhere  in  Great  Britain,  comes  into  power 
with  the  Revolution  of  1688.  See  how  our  photographs  of  old  Edin- 
burgh show  the  new  type  of  modern  utilitarian  building  at  once  arising 
amid  the  mediaeval  timber-work  and  the  Renaissance  stone  mansions, 
as  the  tall  block  proudly  inscribed  by  its  builder-architect,  the  seventh 
King's  master-mason  of  his  family,  as  "Milne's  Court,  1690." 
With  the  revival  of  agriculture  consequent  upon  peace,  and  the 
increase  of  commerce  helped  by  the  rise  of  the  new  trading  class  upon 
the  ruins  of  the  Cavaliers,  the  improvement  of  the  old  town  begins 
more  rapidly  a  generation  later,  and  by-and-by  with  small  beginnings 


Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910 

of  formal  planning;  for  after  the  opening  up  of  James  Court  (1726) 
[fig.  12]  we  venture  next  to  build  a  New  John  Street,  off  Canongate, 
the  small  Brown  Square,  and  at  length  lay  out  the  spacious  George 
Square.  The  Jacobite  wars  of  1715  and  1745  are,  after  all,  but  minor 
interruptions  of  this  growing  prosperity ;  and  half  a  generation  later 
the  increasingly  prosperous  Edinburgh  community,  stirred,  no  doubt, 
by  the  contemporary  improvement  of  London,  then  beginning  to  lay 
out  its  spacious  and  dignified  squares,  resolved,  under  the  leadership 
of  a  really  great  edile,  Lord  Provost  Drummond,  upon  city  develop- 
ment and  town  planning-  proper.  Hence  Craig's  "  Plan  of  the  New- 
Town  "  of  1765,  which  was  realised  in  the  generation  ending  with 
1800  [figs.  13  and  14] .  The  original  New  Town  had  next  its  northern 
extension  by  1822,  and  thence  to  1830.  As  examples  of  the  high  state 
of  town  planning  in  1817,  let  me  cite  the  series  of  plans  selected  as 
best  from  a  competition  held  by  the  Corporation  of  Edinburgh  in  1817, 

(The  last  surviving  front  of  this  type  is  now  being  altered.) 

for  the  area  northward  of  Calton  Hill,  and  now  lent  the  Exhibition  by 
their  successors.*  Here,  then,  we  have  a  period  of  town  planning 
and  of  architectural  execution  surpassing  even  the  lesson  of  London ; 
yet  breaking  down,  also,  in  its  turn. 

Our  photographs  and  maps  are  arranged  so  as  to  show  this  pro- 
gress of  design  and  construction,  yet  also  to  bring  out  the  reason  of 
their  arrest  and  breakdown,  with  abandonment  of  their  unused  spaces 
to  the  contemporary  squalor  or  confusion.  These  town-planners, 
with  all  their  merits,  made  various  grave  mistakes.  First,  they 
omitted  adequate  consideration  of  relief  and  contour,  and  thus  their 
office-made  schemes  broke  down  wherever  the  ground  became 
seriously  irregular,  so  demanding  unforeseen  outlays  for  founda- 
tions— here  upon  cliffs,  or  there  on  marshy  hollows.  They  failed 

*  These  are  figured  by  Mr.  Thomas  Adams,  of  the  L.G.B.  Town  Planning 
Department,  in  the  Architectural  Review  of  October  1910. 

The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh.  557 

then,  very  largely  for  want  of  a  proper  topographical  survey  and  its 
contour-models  ;  but  also,  and  even  more  seriously,  for  want  of  any 
adequate  social  survey.  These  competitive  plans  show  plainly  that 
designers — clients  and  corporations  alike — assumed  a  practically 
indefinitely  increasing  population  of  the  well-to-do — the  lawyers, 
country  gentlemen^  merchants,  and  others  for  whom  the  new  town 
was  designed,  and  forgot  entirely,  after  the  New  Town  Plan  of  1765, 
with  its  first  instalment  of  three  rich  streets  and  two  poor  ones,  to 
provide  for  cheaper  burgher  dwellings,  much  less  for  workmen's 
homes.  Thirdly,  they  omitted  from  consideration  any  provision  for 
anything  so  vulgar  as  workshops,  for  any  industry  whatsoever ;  and, 
consequently,  the  formal  beauty  for  which  they  had  laboured  was 
soon  broken  in  upon  and  at  many  places  destroyed  by  the  necessary 
and  inevitable  filling  up  of  any  and  every  vacant  space  with  any  and 
every  sort  of  irregular  and  utilitarian  factory  and  workshop,  as  our 
photographs  again  plainly  show,  as,  for  instance,  the  dramatic  con- 
trast of  stately  residential  order  and  planless  squalor  on  opposite  sides 
of  the  same  street,  e.g.  Fettes  Row,  of  the  same  monument  even — 
witness  St.  Stephen's  church. 

Does  not,  then,  our  survey  bring  its  gentle  but  decided  criticism 
to  bear  upon  much  of  the  town  planning  of  our  time,  which,  with 
all  its  specialising  upon  communications  here,  or  comfortable  dwel- 
lings there,  there  forgets  the  industrial  development,  and  here  the 
popular  well-being  upon  which  every  town  essentially  depends?  I 
venture  deliberately  to  say  that  this  Exhibition  has  too  many  plans 
of  this  kind  showing  various  lack  of  foresight,  though  happily  not 
all  too  late  for  correction. 

Turn  now  to  our  aesthetic  town  planning.  TKe  builders  of  the 
new  town  at  first  cared  little  for  the  romantic  old  one  they  had 
deserted.  Their  ideas  and  tastes  were  classic,  as  were  those  of  their 
time  throughout  Europe ;  and  hence  the  classic  High  School,  still  one 
of  the  best  examples  of  its  Neo-Grecian  style.  Hence,  too,  the 
various  classic  monuments  of  the  Calton  Hill,  culminating  in  the 
too  colossal  and  unfinished  colonnade  of  the  National  Monument,  and 
more  temperately  continued  in  the  Art  Galleries  of  the  Mound. 

Yet  the  dramatic  contrast  of  the  picturesque  castle  and  hill  town 
with  the  regular  and  utilitarian  modern  new  town,  which  is  to  this 
day  the  most  striking  of  the  many  panoramic  features  of  Edinburgh, 
was  a  great  factor  in  the  Romantic  Movement,  of  which  Sir  Walter 
Scott  made  Edinburgh  for  a  time  the  veritable  capital.  This  new 
idealisation  of  the  mediaeval  past,  both  in  its  temporal  and  its  spiritual 
manifestations,  so  natural  to  a  generation  rebounding  against  the 
severe  republicanism  of  the  Revolution  days  and  the  formal 
classicism  of  the  Empire  style  which  succeeded  it,  produced  its 
speedy  effect  in  the  next  generation.  Hence  that  efflorescence  of 
castellated  gaols  and  "  Scottish  baronial  "  tenements  or  villas  with 
which  the  next  generation  followed  the  architectural  well-nigh  as 
fully  as  the  romantic  inspiration  of  Abbotsford. 

This  Calton  Hill,  with  its  strange  medley  of  monuments,  is  thus 
a  vast  museum  of  the  battle  of  the  styles,  and  a  permanent  evidence 
showing  how  the  town  planners  of  one  generation  cannot  safely  count 
upon  continuance  of  those  of  the  next.  This  is  not  an  argument 

558    Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910 

against  town  planning ;  but  it  brings  out  clearly  the  proposition  that 
we  shall  do  best  by  supplying  the  needs  and  expressing  the  ideas  of 
our  opening  generation,  without  too  great  expectation  of  agreement 
from  the  next  one,  much  less  attempt  to  dominate  it. 

New  churches,  too,  arose  for  all  denominations — bad,  good,  or 
mostly  at  best  indifferent — culminating  in  magnitude  at  least  in 
St.  Mary's  Cathedral  by  Sir  Gilbert  Scott,  which  was,  till  Truro 
Cathedral  surpassed  it,  the  largest  and  most  ambitious  ecclesiastical 
edifice  since  the  Reformation. 

The  romantic  planners  are  now  left  behind  by  their  successors. 
A  period  of  new  communications  had  been  already  opening,  with 
its  new  and  wider  roads,  its  embankments,  bridges,  and  viaducts. 
There  is  more  civil  engineering  of  this  kind  in  Edinburgh  than  in  any 
other  city  I  know  of.  Our  series  of  photographs  again  bring  out 
notable  consequences  of  this  development,  yet  equally  unforeseen.  On 
one  side  a  disastrous  increase  in  the  social  separation  of  classes,  who 
had  been  in  old  Edinburgh  so  peculiarly  mingled,  so  that  the  upper 
and  middle  classes  have  been  wont  to  traverse  Edinburgh  by  viaducts 
high  above  the  festering  squalor  below,  and  to  live  and  die  in  practical 
indifference  to  it,  and  thus  maintain  that  practical  indifference  to  de- 
plorable conditions  which  strikes  every  Continental  visitor,  even  every 
American  tourist,  with  an  outspoken  astonishment  far  from  flattering 
to  Edinburgh,  yet  for  the  same  reason  with  too  little  effect  upon  it. 
Yet  note  also  how  this  series  of  achievements  of  civil  engineering 
culminates,  for  the  city  itself,  in  the  beautiful  Dean  Bridge,  which  is 
one  of  Telford's  masterpieces ;  while  a  few  miles  further  on  we  come 
to  the  natural  outlet  and  main  highway  of  Edinburgh — that  of  the 
Forth  Bridge,  which  but  replaces  its  old  Queen's  Ferry.  This  most 
colossal  of  engineering  achievements  appears  in  its  true  light  as  a 
regional  and  therefore  normal  and  natural  product,  when  we  consider 
the  immediate  civic  environment  of  civil  engineering  achievements, 
each  a  triumph  in  its  day,  in  which  its  promoters  and  its  first  designers 
grew  up  from  boyhood.  In  an  analogous  connection  the  Forth  and 
Clyde  Canal,  once  of  small  barges,  then  of  incipient  steamships,  and 
through  the  Railway  Age  in  comparative  insignificance,  is  now  likely 
to  give  place  to  a  Forth  and  Clyde  Canal  upon  the  oceanic  scale, 
necessarily  with  unseen  future  transformations  for  Edinburgh. 
Almost  since  its  foundation,  and  for  many  years  before' the  present 
public  interest,  the  alternative  routes  for  this  canal  have  been  on 
exhibition  in  our  Outlook  Tower,  with  a  suggestion  of  their  future 
Garden  City,  stretching  from  sea  to  sea. 

From  the  great  civil  engineers  of  roads  and  bridges  to  the  Railway 
Age  which  followed  them  is,  however,  not  so  distinct  a  progress — in 
fact  much  otherwise,  as  our  map  of  the  development  of  the  railway 
system  of  Edinburgh  so  tragically  shows  [fig.  15].  This  development 
of  the  old  carrier  system  of  Edinburgh  by  the  "  new  firm  of  carriers,'* 
as  Lord  Cockburn  called  it,  naturally  established  its  depots  as  near  as 
possible  to  the  old  places  of  departure  for  east  and  west  (north,  too, 
and  south  respectively) ;  and  these  have  then  grown  by  sheer  force  of 
circumstances  to  their  modern  dimensions.  Thus,  too,  their  depots  at 
each  side  of  the  city  naturally,  almost  inevitably,  became  linked  up  by 
the  railway  through  the  gardens.  Hence  our  exhibition  of  the  railway 

ff  * 

-^ ..%,-. .^    .       '  ..*- 



560    Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 

age  appropriately  begins  with  the  statue  of  Lord  Provost  Adam  Black, 
uttering  his  dictum  that  "  Providence  had  plainly  designed  the  valley 
of  Princes  Street  Gardens  for  a  railway."  Hence,  naturally,  our 
two  contrasted  plans — one  of  the  valley  as  it  is,  its  eastern  half  filled 
with  the  most  gigantic  of  stations,  the  other  of  "  the  valley  as  it 
might  have  been  " — the  most  magnificent  of  public  gardens  between 
the  sister  cities,  old  and  new.  The  practical  question,  of  course,  here 
arises:  "Where  better  could  the  railway  have  been  arranged  for? 
Would  you  arrest  all  industry  and  progress,  and  dry  up  the  very 
sources  of  wealth  from  which  gardens  can  be  obtained?  "  No  doubt 
there  have  been  such  aesthetes  ;  but  here  we  are  planners.  See  there- 
fore upon  our  plan  the  "  Innocent  Railway  " — the  oldest  line  entering 
Edinburgh,  and  direct  from  the  great  Midlothian  coalfield  ;  and  we 
venture  to  submit  it  is  plain  that  it  is  this  practically  designed  railway 
line  which  should  have  been  developed  rather  than  the  existing-  mere 
following1  up  of  the  old  horse-carrier  roads  and  depots,  had  not  this 
latter  railway  planning  been  incompetent  through  lack  of  grasp  and 
foresight,  and  had  not  the  town-planning  interest  and  experience  of 
the  previous  generation  been  totally  lost  sight  of  by  a  generation 
hastening  to  be  rich  and  smitten  with  railway  mania. 

Observe  in  detail  the  weltering  confusion  of  the  railway  lines  of 
competitive  companies  which  have  invaded  and  well-nigh  destroyed 
the  regions  between  Edinburgh  and  Leith,  which  were  being  so  care- 
fully planned  only  one  generation  before  ! 

Next  consider  the  far  simpler  net  of  the  railway  system  as  it  might 
and  should  have  been,  and  note  in  this  the  economy  in  space  and  in 
time,  with  gain,  not  loss,  of  efficiency,  time,  and  convenience,  and  with 
saving  of  the  city's  beauty  to  boot.  Of  course  this  is  but  a  sketch, 
inviting  criticism  by  the  expert,  with  no  doubt  modifications  in  detail. 
It  is  the  general  principle  which  is  here  boldly  affirmed,  that  this 
railway  system  has  not  been  the  utilitarian  success  it  still  pretends 
itself,  but  has  been,  not  merely  half-ruinous  to  the  beauty  of  Edin- 
burgh, but  is  structurally  bungled  and  economically  wasteful  to  all 
concerned — so  much  so,  in  fact,  that  I  again  venture  to  suggest 
that  it  may  not  be  a  merely  Utopian  or  academic  question  whether  it 
may  not  yet  pay  some  day  to  transform  the  railway  system  more  or 
less  as  here  suggested  !  Be  this  as  it  may,  I  trust  this  illustration  will 
be  sufficiently  clear  on  general  lines  to  warrant  my  pressing  the  town- 
planner  boldly  to  confront  and  scrutinise  the  railway  system  of  his 
own  town  and  of  every  other  town.  Let  him  criticise  this,  not 
on  any  grounds  of  antiquarian  piety  or  wayward  aestheticism 
(as  he  will  be  of  course  misrepresented  on  all  hands  as  doing), 
but  from  his  more  extensive  and  more  clear-headed  grasp  of 
the  topography  and  the  economics  of  the  town  and  region,  which 
the  railway  directors  and  their  engineers  have  as  yet  so  astonish- 
ingly little  time  to  inquire  into.  He  will  thus  discover  that 
the  "  utilitarian  "  here,  as  so  often  elsewhere,  has  been  the 
futilitarian ;  and  that  he  too  frequently  to  this  day  remains  so.  If 
this  be  doubted,  let  us  glance  for  a  change  at  the  map  of  North 
London  with  its  railway  termini,  and  their  mazes  behind  the  scenes, 
or  at  the  Thames  with  its  adjacent  stations  and  railway  bridges  ;  the 
came  through  outer  and  suburban  Paris,  and  so  on,  even  to  the 

562     Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 

newest  capitals,  like  Berlin  and  Chicago.  All  tnis  will  surely  be 
sufficient  to  warrant  the  present  attack  upon  most  railway  planning, 
whether  in  Edinburgh  or  beyond,  as  the  most  fortuitous  bungle  in  the 
long  history  of  cities,  and  as  far  exceeding  in  its  present  disorder  and' 
waste  of  space,  time,  and  energy  (to  say  nothing  of  natural  beauty 
or  human  life),  anything  that  has  been  or  can  be  alleged  against  the 
decay  of  the  Mediaeval,  the  Renaissance  or  the  eighteenth-century 
cities  and  city  plans,  defective  though  we  have  seen  each  and  all  of 
these  to  have  been  in  its  turn,  and  disastrous  in  its  decay.  I  labour 
this  point,  not  as  vituperation,  but  to  bring  out  the  essential  origins 
and  tasks  of  our  present  town-planning  movement ;  it  is  the  necessary- 
rebound  of  a  new  generation  against  the  ideas,  and  the  lack  of  ideas, 
of  our  elders  of  the  railway  and  industrial  age,  and  the  practical 
endeavour  now  to  mitigate  the  material  confusion  and  the  social' 
deterioration  in  which  their  lapse  of  well-nigh  all  sense  of  civic- 
responsibility  and  well-being  has  plunged  us. 

Turning  now  from  communications  to  population,  our  later  maps- 
of  Edinburgh  show  it  growing  rapidly,  after  all  much  like  other  more 
obviously  industrial  cities  in  this  railway  age.  They  show  how  readily 
and  completely,  even  in  this  city  so  peculiarly  inspired  by  the  tradition 
of  the  three  great  preceding  culture-periods,  all  alike  for  practical  pur- 
poses become  lost  so  far  as  city  development  is  concerned.  For  newer 
districts  this  has  arisen  from  the  lower  and  more  squalid  types  in  the 
main,  largely  that  of  the  West  Port  quarter,  which  each  succeeding 
town  plan  unhappily  neglected.  Witness  the  wretchedly  unplanned  in- 
dustrial suburb  of  Dairy,  &c. ,  which  chokes  the  western  exit ;  witness, 
too,  the  confusion,  stretching  far  and  near,  round  Holyrood,  or  that 
on  the  eastern  and  northerly  quarters  of  Leith. 

This  zone  of  sordid  industrial  districts  surrounding-^— say,  indeed, 
immersing — the  old  town  and  the  planned  new  town  alike,  has  thus 
grown  in  a  vicious  circle  with  the  misgrowth  of  the  railway  system, 
and  our  plans  show  plainly  how  Edinburgh  has  become,  as  far  as  it 
could,  an  ordinary  manufacturing  town — at  many  points  now  able  to 
match  Dundee,  Glasgow,  or  Lancashire  towns  in  their  characteristic 
perspectives  of  squalor  and  dreariness  of  homes,  of  monotonous  con- 
fusion of  mean  streets. 

Yet  we  must  not  merely  blame  the  early  railway  age  or  its  con- 
tinuators  ;  nor  do  we  forget  the  efforts  of  the  prosperous  community 
meantime  to  the  lay-out  of  villa  quarters,  of  the  poorer  middle-class 
towards  more  or  less  improved  tenements.  Nor  can  we  simply  follow 
our  present  town-planners,  central  or  suburban,  to  the  laying  out  of 
boulevards  within  or  of  dormitories  without.  For  what  is  this  indus- 
trial confusion  but  the  Nemesis  of  that  forgetfulness  of  workshops 
and  workers'  homes  which  we  noted  in  eighteenth-century  planning? 

We  are  thus  coming  plainly  abreast  of  the  modern  situation,  and 
this  as  we  see  it  in  less  obviously  historic  cities  than  Edinburgh  ;  and 
we  are  now  ready  to  criticise,  not  merely  the  apathetic  standpoint 
of  yesterday,  but  the  well-intentioned  efforts  of  to-day,  with  old  com- 
munities and  municipalities  beginning  to  look  towards  the  problem 
of  redressing  the  disorder  which  has  thus  thoughtlessly  grown  up, 
and  even  with  new  communities,  like  Letchworth  or  Rosyth,  seeking 
how,  if  possible,  to  avoid  failure  in  their  turn.  Here,  then,  the  views 

The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh.  563 

of  the  Edinburgh  Municipality,  which  has  pioneered  in  town-planning 
progress  even  oftener  than  our  Survey  has  sufficed  to  show,  are  surely 
worthy  of  careful  consideration.  Note,  then,  our  exhibit  of  the 
41  Preliminary  Memorandum  to  the  Town  Council  of  Edinburgh  on 
the  Further  Development  of  Industries  (1908)."  In  this  document, 
after  a  preamble  duly  appreciative  of  the  historic  interest  and 
picturesque  beauty  of  Edinburgh,  and  of  the  economic  value  of  its 
consequent  tourist  attractiveness,  after  due  recognition  of  its 
educational,  governmental,  religious,  and  other  importance  as  the 
Scottish  metropolis,  there  is  no  suggestion  at  all  as  to  the  develop- 
ment of  the  existing  industries  of  Edinburgh — much  less  of  that 
possible  further  association  of  these  with  the  educational  and  other 
advantages  of  the  city.  But  these,  it  would  be  easy  to  prove  to  the 
most  sceptical  critic,  give  it  potential  advantages  similar  to  those 
which  it  has  partly  utilised,  as  in  the  printing  and  paper-making 
industries,  those  of  pharmacy,  brewing,  &c.  ;  and  all  these  in  a  degree 
probably,  on  the  whole,  not  inferior  to  any  other  cities,  British  or 
foreign.  There  is  merely  a  lengthy,  and  in  itself,  so  far  as  it  goes, 
not  unpersuasive,  argument  as  to  the  suitability  of  Edinburgh,  by 
virtue  of  its  low  rates  especially,  for  new  industries  of  any  kind ;  but 
notably  those  which  are  being,  or  may  be,  attracted  to  Great  Britain 
by  Mr.  Lloyd  George's  recent  law  on  Patents.  Moreover,  this  docu- 
ment also  proposes — and  here  is  its  main  interest  as  a  town-planning 
suggestion — that  these  industries  should  be  developed,  as  mainly  at 
present,  to  the  south-west.  But  so  long  as  the  earth  continues  to 
rotate  that  will  be  the  direction  of  our  prevailing  wind.  The  new 
town  is  already  gravely  depreciated  by  the  smoke  and  smell  of  this 
new  quarter — even  its  central  and  most  famous  view  is  "  So  like 
Pittsburg  !"  as  the  American  tourist  now  frankly  tells  you;  and  to 
extend  all  this  is,  surely,  not  likely  to  benefit  or  even  maintain  the 
interests  so  politely  recognised  at  the  outset  of  the  memorandum. 

Are,  then,  industrial  developments  to  be  discouraged,  and  the 
city  to  be  left  to  its  lawyers  and  parsons,  its  doctors  and  professors, 
to  its  retired  villas  and  its  conspicuous  slums?  Not  so.  Our  initial 
Survey,  with  its  general  and  geological  maps,  shows  exactly  where 
the  future  industrial  development  of  Edinburgh  should  be,  and  there- 
fore will  be,  because  it  will  pay  to  be — pay  in  energy  and  efficiency, 
in  health  and  beauty,  and  therefore  in  money  also.  It  will  be  upon 
that  "  Innocent  Railway  "  [fig.  15]  which  we  saw  for  urban  reasons 
should  have  been  developed  from  the  first,  and  now  should  be  for 
regional  reasons  also.  And  it  will  be  upon  and  beside  the  Midlothian 
coalfield,  which,  happily,  lies  east,  not  west  of  the  city,  and  has  its 
smoke  mainly  blown  out  to  sea.  Smoke,  of  course,  is  mere  waste, 
soon  to  be  suppressed  by  a  more  economic  and  more  truly  utilitarian 
civilisation,  while,  with  this,  an  adequate  development  of  electrical 
power,  lighting  and  heating  systems  must  naturally  also  arise,  and 
this  not  only  for  its  own  uses,  but  also  improving  existing  Edinburgh 
in  ways  for  which  a  volume  is  required.  Our  survey,  in  fact,  points 
straight  towards  its  sequel,  in  a  Report  with  Plans  of  this  possible 
Newer  Edinburgh — an  industrial  city  and  a  garden  city  in  one,  and 
this  realisable  within  a  reasonable  period,  which  our  friend  Mr. 
Ebenezer  Howard  may,  I  trust,  live  to  see. 

-,64    Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910, 

An  indication  of  this  growth,  as  already  in  instructive  and  un- 
conscious progress — though  for  that  reason  unfortunately  as  yet 
quite  unplanned — is  afforded  by  the  growing  brewery  village  of  New 
Duddingston.  This  exodus  of  the  breweries  from  Central  Edinburgh 
next  begins  to  raise  the  question  of  the  reorganisation  of  the  present 
industrial  confusion,  and,  with  this,  of  the  working-class  quarters 
within  the  old  town — in  short,  we  have  to  supplement  our  incipient 
scheme  of  a  newer  Edinburgh  by  a  better  older  Edinburgh  also.  We 
are,  in  fact,  entering  upon  a  period  like  that  of  1765,  upon  a  new 
spiral,  of  course ;  let  us  hope  a  less  defective  one.  Does  not,  then, 
this  Survey  unmistakably  bring  out,  not  only  the  interest  and  the 
possibility  of  our  Survey  of  a  City,  but  its  direct  practical  use — the 
way  in  which  retrospect,  rightly  interpreted,  not  only  illuminates  the 
present,  but  sweeps  through  this,  and  forward  again  into  intelligent 
foresight?  With  our  greater  populations  and  resources,  our  graver 
problems,  our  more  anxious  responsibilities,  we  are  compelled  to  still 
greater  magnitude  of  design  than  were  our  predecessors ;  but  surely 
also  to  fuller  reflection,  to  completer  provision  for  all  the  many  needs 
of  life.  Of  course  it  may  fairly  be  contended  by  the  municipal 
authorities,  whose  "  Preliminary  Report  "  we  have  been  so  severely 
criticising,  that  their  proposed  south-westward  development  is  for 
their  own  area,  while  ours  are  outside  their  present  municipal 
boundary.  Yet  the  answer  to  this  also  is  plain.  Municipal 
boundaries  exist  for  the  sake  of  cities,  and  not  cities  for  municipal 
boundaries ;  and  in  Edinburgh,  with  what  is  believed  to  be  propor- 
tionately the  largest  legal  and  political  population  of  any  city  in  the 
world,  or  in  history,  it  should  not  be  impossible  to  enlarge  at  once 
its  area  and  its  powers  to  an  extent  worthy  alike  of  the  opening  social 
future,  and  of  the  continued  place  of  Scotland  as  one  of  the  Great 
Powers — of  Culture,  if  no  longer  of  material  forces  and  alliances  :  of 
Edinburgh  as  one  of  the  Great  Cities — for  in  history  those  alone  are 
great  whose  spiritual  forces  and  influences  are  most  out  of  proportion 
to  their  mere  numbers. 


The  preceding  criticism  of  the  recent  industrial  order,  or  rather 
lack  of  order,  together  with  the  complemental  indication  of  a  policy  of 
improvement  within  the  city,  and  of  expansion  without,  has  brought 
us  more  fully  up  to  the  contemporary  interests  of  town  planners  than 
our  far-away  manner  of  opening  seemed  to  promise.  Yet,  instead 
of  now  presenting  plans  of  industrial  and  garden  villages  without,  or 
of  new  clearances  or  thoroughfares  within,  as  the  prevalent  custom 
is,  let  us  simply  return  to  our  Survey,  still  far  from  ended — indeed, 
really  only  beginning  for  truly  modern  purposes — with  our  disillusion- 
ment with  the  "  progress  "  of  the  industrial  and  railway  age. 

Let  us  resort  rather  to  that  form  of  mental  relief  common  to  all 
save  the  poorest  classes  of  our  industrial  world — that  of  taking  the 
tourist  and  holiday  view  of  Edinburgh,  from  which  indeed  our  city 
largely  derives  its  wealth,  like  Scotland  generally. 

This  explains  our  exhibit  of  the  two  ways  of  looking  at  Old 
Edinburgh — as  a  centre,  indeed  a  very  metropolis— of  Squalor,  yet 
likewise  of  Romance.  Our  series  of  photographs,  therefore,  records 

The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh.  565 

this  appalling  and  still  tolerated  squalor  of  the  old  town  in  its  build- 
ings and  courts,  and  correspondingly  of  its  slum  life.  Throughout 
the  nineteenth  century,  as  already  indicated,  this  state  of  things  has 
been  mainly  accepted  by  the  middle  and  governing  classes  as  a 
permanent  supply  of  human  material  for  its  confused  charities,  for 
its  vast  schools  of  medicine  and  anatomy,  and  for  its  manifold 
religious  endeavours.  Yet,  as  the  medical  school  has  its  long  roll  of 
heroes,  of  whom  Simpson  and  Lister  are  but  the  chief,  so  the  philan- 
thropists and  divines  have  also  largely  justified  themselves  in  types 
like  Dr.  Guthrie,  the  organiser  of  ragged  schools,  and  Dr.  Chalmers, 
the  originator  of  the  Elberfeld  system,  or  Dr.  Begg,  a  pioneer  in 
housing  many  years  ago;  while  the  too  sweeping  would-be  sanitary 
clearances,  like  those  of  Provost  William  Chambers  and  most  of  his 
successors,  are  also  seen  to  be  not  entirely  inexcusable,  despite  their 
inevitable  resultants  of  transferred  pressure  in  higher  local  rents  and 
general  taxes,  &c. 

For  Romance,  on  the  other  hand,  we  have  a  selection  of  Mr.  Bruce 
Home's  admirable  drawings  [fig.  16],  while  our  photographs  culmi- 
nate in  those  of  the  "  Old  Edinburgh  Street  "  of  the  International 
Exhibition  of  1886,  probably  the  most  admirable  reconstruction  of  an 
ancient  city  yet  effected,  and  a  suggestion  of  what  may  yet  be  done  in 
some  of  our  old  quarters  in  permanent  form.  Beginnings  of  this 
domestic  revival  have,  in  fact,  since  been  made  at  Dean  Village,  in 
High  Street,  &c.,  as  notably  in  the  buildings  of  University  Hall. 

The  exact  coincidence,  both  in  time  and  space,  of  such  work  as 
this  of  Messrs.  Sydney  Mitchell  and  Wilson,  Capper,  and  other  archi- 
tects, towards  this  revival  in  domestic  architecture,  with  the  romantic 
tales  and  admirable  "  Edinburgh  "  of  Robert  Louis  Stevenson,  is  of 
interest  as  once  more  showing  how  the  mental  attitude  of  a  generation 
and  its  expression  in  material  and  literary  art  are  normally  at  one.  In 
this  case  all  are  plainly  derived  from  Scott,  and  arise  by  the  revival  of 
his  spirit  in  presence  of  the  broken  survivals  of  his  picturesque  envi- 
ronment before  the  inroad  of  the  railway  and  full  onset  of  the  indus- 
trial and  financial  age.  The  restoration  of  the  interior  of  St.  Giles  and 
that  of  Edinburgh  Castle  are  similar  and  contemporary  examples  of 
the  work  of  the  past  generation  at  its  best.  This  connection  is  still 
more  plain  when  we  note  that  both  these  great  works  were  carried  out 
at  the  initiative  and  expense  of  Robert  Chambers  and  of  William 
Nelson  respectively,  two  of  our  leading  printers  and  publishers — a 
group  among  whom  there  still  reappear,  perhaps  more  naturally  than 
in  any  other  class,  the  combined  virtues  of  scholar  and  of  citizen. 

Once  more  we  return  in  fresh  series  of  exhibits  to  that  ever-recur- 
ring deterioration  of  the  work  of  each  generation,  which  seems  well- 
nigh  as  sternly  inevitable  as  the  death  and  decay  of  its  once  living 
bodies ;  and  this  involves  a  corresponding  rebuke  of  the  vanity  of  the 
town  planners  who  so  boldly  provide  for  a  morrow  they  naively 
imagine  "  shall  be  as  this  day  and  much  more  abundant."  We  show, 
then,  the  character  of  our  "  eligible  villas,"  but  these  have  already 
been  sufficiently  criticised  in  Stevenson's  "  Edinburgh."  We  show, 
too,  the  type  of  "  long,  unlovely  street,"  unending  miles  of  tenement 
rows,  upon  which  a  past  generation  of  builders,  of  speculators  rather, 
made  their  transient  gains,  each  an  enduring  injury  to  its  community, 

566    Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 

once  more — like  the  villas,  the  Calton  monuments,  the  two  towns,  old 
and  new — in  further  decadence  of  rival  styles,  the  classic  and  romantic, 
in  their  latest  variations  of  decay. 

It  is  important  to  note  how  that  essential  continuance  of  the  his- 
toric overcrowding  of  Edinburgh  by  the  habitual  preference  of  even 
moderately  well-to-do  and  otherwise  intelligent  people  for  the  tene- 
ment, as  distinguished  from  the  cottage,  has  been  and  still  is  en- 
couraged and  maintained  by  the  great  Educational  Trusts,  which  are 
the  largest  ground  landlords  of  Edinburgh,  and  which  stoutly  con- 
tinue to  press  in  and  pile  up  a  population  far  denser  than  that  which 
can  be  found  upon  the  estates  of  any  of  the  ordinary  types  of  ground 
landlords  of  whom  English  town-planners  so  often  grievously  com- 
plain— and  yet  all  this  with  the  best  intentions,  in  the  supposed  in- 
terest of  the  up-bringing  of  the  child-life  of  Edinburgh  !  Thus  the 
question  of  ground  landlords  is  not  so  merely  political  as  people  sup- 
pose. Like  every  other  abuse  or  evil  around  us,  it  needs  a  fuller 
study  than  either  politicians  or  reformers  are  yet  accustomed  to  give 
— for  lack  of  city  surveys  ! 

Our  survey  made,  shall  we  then  turn  to  political  agitation?  Not 
I,  at  least,  for  one.  Our  Civic  Observatory  of  an  Outlook  Tower  can 
but  leave  its  Surveys  to  leaven  gradually  as  they  may,  the  thought 
of  ground  landlords,  City  Fathers,  Parliamentary  representatives, 
and  other  personages  too  high  for  easy  access,  like  our  tenements 
themselves.  Our  Survey  turns  next  to  what  can  be  done  here  and 
there  meanwhile  with  moderate  means  and  ordinary  folk,  with  such 
labour  and  time  as  they  can  spare.  Hence  our  "  Open  Spaces  Com- 
mittee," with  its  survey  of  every  open  space  amid  the  slums;  and 
these  within  the  "  Historic  Mile,"  despite  its  overcrowding,  amount 
to  no  less  than  seventy-five  pieces,  measuring  about  ten  acres  in  all. 
This  Survey  again  leads  to  "  Report  " — that  is  to  plan,  to  action  ;  and 
ten  or  a  dozen  of  these  have  already  been  reclaimed  within  the  past 
two  or  three  years  into  gardens,  accessible  to  school  and  street 
children  and  to  women,  to  the  people  generally,  whilst  others  are 
in  preparation  as  circumstances  and  scanty  funds  allow.  Our  photo- 
graphs and  water-colour  perspectives  here  explain  themselves — save 
that  in  these  I  may  bring  out  the  principle  and  point  of  view  of  the 
whole  historic  survey  by  once  more  calling  attention  to  these  as  a 
veritable  renewal  of  the  cultivation  terraces  of  our  initial  and  pre- 
historic survey  [fig.  17].  As  a  practical  point  it  may  be  added  that, 
despite  all  that  is  too  commonly  said  of  rough  population  and  the  rest, 
no  mischief  worth  mentioning  is  ever  done.  Quite  the  contrary.  The 
gardens  are  thoroughly  appreciated,  and  their  educating,  civilising 
influence  already  plain,  and  spreading  in  ways  too  varied  and  complex 
for  consideration  here. 

Closely  kindred  to  the  work  of  this  Open  Spaces  Committee  is  the 
•corresponding  larger  survey  lately  suggested  by  Mr.  Joseph  Fels  on 
behalf  of  his  well-known  "  Vacant  Lands  Cultivation  scheme,"  now 
flourishing  in  London  as  well  as  in  Philadelphia.  Our  map  shows  that 
about  450  unused  acres  on  the  outskirts  of  Edinburgh  might  be 
utilised  as  in  these  so  far  more  progressive  cities.  It  should  not 
be  necessary  to  argue  for  this  method  of  relief,  though  as  yet  its 
.adoption  is  hard  to  begin  in  so  keenly'  critical  a  community  as  ours  : 

568  Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910 

hence    this    little    survey    also    awaits    its    natural    application    and 
development,  like  other  and  larger  ones. 

From  the  standpoint  of  the  historic  survey,  however,  note  how 
this  vacant  land  cultivation  just  outside  the  town  limits  throws  light 
upon  the  origin  of  the  spacious  gardens  of  the  old-world  friars  upon 
our  mediaeval  town-maps ;  and  these_,  not  only  in  Edinburgh,  but 


in  Oxford,  in  Florence,  and  other  old  cities.  Hence — the  speculation 
is  at  least  harmless — might  not  this  similarly  useful  and  re-educa- 
tional type  of  cultivation  again  lead  us  towards  some  other  new  and 
unexpected  development  of  town-growth,  in  its  way  also  beautiful,  as 
did  that  of  old?  May  it  not  have  some  latent  part  in  that  next 
evolution  of  our  city  for  the  better,  which  is  the  happier  side  of  that 

The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh.  569 

judgment-day  which  our  historic  and  sociological  survey  shows  is 
always  going  on?  May  it  not  even  again  be  said  by  the  Ideal  of 
Progress — "  Inasmuch  as  ye  did  it  unto  the  least  of  these,  ye  did  it 
unto  Me?  " 

Leave  now  our  small  gardens  in  progress,  and  our  waste  lands 
still  unutilised.  We  leave  undescribed  also  our  little  beginnings  of 
Garden  Villages  in  Edinburgh,  though  the  oldest  in  Scotland  and 
among  the  earliest  in  Britain.  For  a  higher  outlook  and  a  larger 
future,  let  us  return  to  the  ancient  heart  and  focus  of  our  city,  the 
ridge  of  Old  Edinburgh.  Once  more  we  have  to  promote  an  exodus 
like  that  to  the  New  Town,  yet  in  a  different  way — the  relief  of  its 
again  largely  over-crowded  population,  seriously  under-housed  even 
when  contented — not  by  further  destruction  of  insanitary  areas,  as 
some  desire,  nor  by  the  erection  of  masses  of  new  tenements  for 
the  poorer  classes,  as  another  school  of  city  reformers  everywhere 
desires ;  but  aiming  rather  at  that  gentle  yet  real  uplift  throughout  all 
classes  which  is  afforded  by  better  housing  generally,  and  by  normal 
civic  expansion  and  improvement. 

Notice  in  this  connection  the  survey  by  our  foremost  Edinburgh 
antiquary  and  civic  artist,  Mr.  Bruce  Home,  showing  every  historic 
building  still  surviving  :  yet  let  us  frankly  recognise  that  interesting 
though  these  old  buildings  may  be,  their  survival  must  essentially 
depend  upon  such  possibilities  of  utilisation  as  they  can  show. 

Here,  then,  the  significance  of  our  next  exhibit — that  outlining 
the  constructive  work  of  the  Town  and  Gown  Association,  Limited. 
Here  I  shall  only  speak  of  its  Gown  side — that  of  collegiate 
residence,  and  sum  up  its  development  and  growth  in  twenty  years 
without  eleemosynary  aid,  from  one  house  and  seven  residents,  in- 
volving a  capital  of  ^400,  to  140  residents,  plus  additional  accom- 
modation for  married  residents  and  others,  representing  upwards  of 
,£50,000.  This  scheme  has  also  extended  to  London,  and  there 
initiated — with  considerable  outlay  and  not  without  sacrifice — the 
University  Hall  of  Residence  in  Chelsea,  now  conducted  under  the 
aegis  of  the  University  of  London,  by  a  kindred  but  independent 
;<  University  and  City  Association,  Ltd.,"  which  has  in  its  turn 
lately  succeeded  in  re-erecting  Crosby  Hall.  Here,  then,  we  have  a 
new  principle  and  method  of  town  planning — and,  indeed,  of  city 
design.  It  is  the  combination,  in  each  city,  of  its  antiquarian  piety,  and 
its  conservative  artistic  purpose,  with  architectural  ability  and  busi- 
ness management :  this  towards  a  two-fold  purpose — on  one  side 
that  of  collegiate  efficiency ;  on  the  other,  that  of  civic  betterment. 
With  the  accompanying  Outlook  Tower  of  Edinburgh,  or  the  corre- 
sponding survey  of  Chelsea  and  other  boroughs  beginning  in  London, 
this  combined  collegiate  and  civic  scheme  is  gradually  becoming 
intelligible  as  a  centre  not  merely  of  civic  survey,  but  also  of  civic 
improvement.  Education  and  post-graduate  study  and  effort  thus 
tend  to  develop  upon  a  somewhat  different,  yet  not  altogether  less 
social  plane  than  that  of  the  University  Settlements,  which  may  in 
turn  adapt  themselves  to  the  more  unified  civic  and  educational 
policy  of  the  University  Halls. 

These  are,  in  fact,  the  gradual  working-out  of  a  scheme  of 
collegiate  development,  especially  adapted  to  our  larger  University 

p  P 

570  Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 


The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh. 


572   Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 

cities,  and  not,  as  too  much  in  older  types,  independently  of  the 
existing  city  and  by  mere  destruction  and  replacement  of  its  buildings. 
On  the  contrary,  it  seeks,  on  grounds  alike  economical  and  social,  to 
conserve  and  incorporate  existing  buildings.  Hence  our  large  perspec- 
tives [figs.  18  and  19]  of  the  upper  third  of  the  ridge  of  Old  Edinburgh 
now  become  intelligible  as  a  definite  and  gradually  unifying  scheme. 
This  is  not  simply  for  the  cleansing  and  conservation  of  the  historic 
remnants  of  Old  Edinburgh,  but  for  the  development  of  this  into  a 
collegiate  street  and  city  comparable  in  its  way  with  the  magnificent 
High  Street  of  Oxford  and  its  noble  surroundings.  Not,  of  course, 
comparable  in  the  same  forms  of  collegiate  splendour ;  but  none  the 
less  in  the  definite  and  practical  way,  of  ultimate  student  numbers,  and 
in  excellent  and,  in  their  way,  not  less  educative  conditions.  Historic 
houses  have  thus  been  renewed  ;  old  courts  cleansed,  repaired,  and 
modestly  re-beautified ;  and  City  and  University,  too  long  dis- 
sociated, begin  to  find  themselves  entering  into  renewing  contacts, 
in  which  that  tradition  of  culture  in  democracy,  which  is  the  peculiar 
heritage  and  glory  of  Scottish  education,  may  be  not  only  maintained, 
but  developed  towards  new  and  higher  issues.  Thus,  then,  the  long 
discord  of  antiquarian  sentiment  and  utilitarian  realism  is  beginning 
to  find  a  renewed  harmony  ;  and  our  studious  Survey  has  risen  once 
more  towards  practical  purpose  and  unwearying  activity. 

In  this  renewal  of  Old  Edinburgh  other  agencies  have,  of  course, 
also  been  long  at  work,  both  municipal  and  private ;  witness  the 
admirable  application  of  Miss  Octavia  Hill's  system  by  the  Social 
Union.  At  present  most  hopeful,  yet  as  some  fear  also  most  dangerous 
to  the  future  of  Old  Edinburgh  is  that  possible  improvement  of  Holy- 
rood  Palace  now  being  considered  in  association  with  the  memorial 
of  the  late  King  and  the  welcome  to  the  new.  Here  town-planning 
schemes  at  this  point  are  actually  being  called  for,  and  towards  these 
our  survey  and  its  conservative  suggestions,  our  constructive  begin- 
nings also,  are  respectfully  submitted,  especially  to  any  to  whom 
the  present  principle — that  of  survey  before  action — carries  a  serious 

At  the  outset  we  noted  the  fear  that  our  surveys  might  delay 
action.  But  has  it  not  been  shown  in  practice  how  our  survey  with 
its  interpretation  illuminates  the  path  for  action,  and  this  alike  as 
regards  its  dangerous  and  its  hopeful  possibilities?  Our  survey,  in 
short,  leads  inevitably  towards  a  corresponding  "  Report  on  City 
Development;  "  and  this  is  actually  in  preparation,  and  on  lines  not 
less,  but  more,  comprehensive  than  those  of  my  "  City  Develop- 
ment "*  with  regard  to  the  small  yet  deeply  interesting  and  significant 
City  of  Dunfermline. 

Here,  however,  it  is  sufficient  to  give  some  simple  indication  alike 
of  the  method  and  spirit  of  the  Report  which  arises  necessarily  from 
the  Survey.  First,  as  regards  the  method ;  this  we  briefly  express 
by  our  juxtaposition  of  two  plans  of  the  city.  The  first  is  the  ordinary 
Directory  map  of  the  city,  tinted  here  and  there  to  show  how  it 
has  grown  upon  its  physical  contour  and  geographical  situa- 
tion. The  second  is  a  sample  of  our  rough  experimental  sketches 
towards  the  bettered  city  of  the  opening  generation.  For 
the  past  it  shows  the  utmost  practicable  acceptance  of  the  natural 
*  Edinburgh:  Geddes  and  Colleagues,  Outlook  Tower,  1904. 

The  Civic  Survey  of  Edinburgh.  573 

environment  with  the  conservation  of  the  historic  heritage — the  best 
word  of  each  and  every  generation.  As  regards  the  present,  we 
seek  at  once  social  betterment  and  economic  efficiency  ;  while  as 
regards  the  opening  future,  we  venture  more  and  more  boldly  upon 
that  social  and  cultural  evolution,  at  once  civic  and  educational, 
which  surely  expresses  the  best  tradition  and  the  highest  hope  of 
Edinburgh  Old  and  New.  Our  suggested  Report  on  Edinburgh 
Town  Planning,  then,  is  no  mere  matter  of  street-making,  or  house- 
building, however  respectably  improved  upon  conditions  present  or 
past.  It  is  a  City  Design ;  and  this  not  only  of  material  process,  but 
of  idealistic  progress,  for  except  the  ideal  plan  the  city  they  labour 
in  vain  that  build  it.  Hence  our  verses  from  the  scriptorium  of 
the  Art  College ;  hence  our  suggested  statue,  one  of  the  most 
needed  symbols  of  returning  unity  and  activity  at  the  main  point  of 
Old  Edinburgh,  midway  between  its  warring  churches  and  assem- 
blies, its  colleges  of  all  denominations — the  statue  of  St.  Columba  the 
Civiliser,  in  whom  all  religious  traditions — Catholic,  Episcopal, 
Presbyterian  of  all  denominations  and  all  interpretations — legendary, 
historic,  and  sociological — actually  for  once  agree. 

Beyond  this  even,  as  our  survey  began  with  the  Castle  upon 
the  Rock,  so  it  ends  appropriately  with  a  Castle  in  the  Air.  Let  our 
successors  materialise  this  in  their  turn. 

Our  Civic  Survey  thus  has  ranged  through  wide  limits  :  from 
the  fullest  civic  idealism  on  the  one  hand,  to  the  most  direct  and 
ruthless  realism  on  the  other.  For  there  is  no  real  incompatibility 
between  the  power  of  seeing  the  thing  as  it  is — the  Town  as  Place,  as 
Work,  as  Folk — and  the  power  of  seeing  things  as  they  may  be — the 
City  of  Etho-Polity,  Culture  and  Art.  Our  city  surveys,  in  fact, 
descend  throughout  their  veritable  inferno,  yet  ascend  towards  corre- 
sponding circles  of  higher  life.  What  are  these  circles  of  ascent  or 
of  decline?  The  needful  stereoscopic  device  of  thought — the  analyses 
of  a  strangely  mingled  and  ever-changing  ebb  and  flow,  the  rise  and 
fall  of  historic  and  individual  evolution. 

As  final  expressions,  then,  of  our  survey  and  of  its  practical 
purpose,  our  exhibit  ends  with  two  symbols  :  First,  Mr.  Gibson's 
well-carved  model  of  the  City  Cross,  in  itself  summing  up  the  vicissi- 
tudes of  Old  Edinburgh  for  centuries  past,  built  in  mediaeval  times, 
transformed  at  the  Reformation,  demolished  in  the  utilitarian  period, 
partly  re-erected — thanks  to  Sir  Walter  Scott — in  the  romantic  age, 
and  finally  re-erected  and  restored  to  civic  uses.  Hence  this  Cross 
is  peculiarly  fitting  as  a  symbol  not  only  of  Citizenship,  but  of 
Civic  Revivance ;  and  as  complementing  that  initial  Relief  Model 
of  Edinburgh,  with  which  we  started  as  conditioning  the  material 
origins  of  the  town,  by  a  corresponding  expression  of  the  deeper  and 
inner  evolution  of  the  city.  The  many-sided  activities  of  a  great  city, 
spiritual  and  social,  educational  and  hygienic,  architectural  and 
industrial — or  most  simply  ideal  and  material — all  these  may  be  fitly 
symbolised  upon  the  many  sides  of  this  characteristic  building  as 
aspects  of  a  real  unity  ;  and  this  unity  again,  by  the  shaft  of  the 
Cross,  as  an  ascent  of  life  towards  fitting  expression — pointedly 
individual  because  also  civic  and  national.  Yet  as  each  phase  of 
development  of  our  survey  has  come  and  gone,  so  in  turn  may  this 
presentment  of  it.  All  surveys,  we  have  seen,  need  perpetual 

574  Transactions  of  the  Town  Planning  Conference,  Oct.  1910. 

renewal;  and  our  final  exhibit  is  thus  a  plain  office-model  of  the 
Outlook  Tower — reduced  to  its  simplest  expression — that  in  which  it 
may  be  adapted  by  anyone  to  the  problems  and  the  tasks  presented 
by  his  own  immediate  environment,  his  own  region  and  neighbour- 
hood, quarter  and  city.  Hence,  beside  this,  we  lay  our  indications 
and  beginnings  of  other  surveys  of  cities,  e.g.  of  Dunfermline,  of 
Perth  and  Dundee,  of  Chelsea,  of  Paris.  These  at  least  may  serve 
as  further  evidence  of  the  practicability  of  city  surveys  ;  and  of  these, 
not  only  as  the  essential  local  and  public  Inquiry  needed  before  town 
planning  and  city  improvement  schemes  can  be  safely  or  sufficiently 
undertaken,  but  as  helpful  to  municipal  work  of  all  kinds,  and  to 
civic  betterment  in  its  endless  details.  In  conclusion  then,  here  is  my 
thesis  and  challenge  :  City  surveys  are  urgent,  practicable,  and  useful, 
so  useful  that  they  must  before  long  become  for  civic  statesmanship 
and  local  administration  what  charts  now  are  to  Admiralty  and  to 


NOTE  I. — Any  who  are  desirous  of  entering  upon  a  survey  of 
their  city  are  invited  to  communicate  writh  the  writer  at  Outlook 
Tower,  Edinburgh,  or  University  Hall,  Chelsea,  or  with  the  Secre- 
tary of  the  Sociological  Society,  24  Buckingham  Street,  Strand,  who 
will  furnish  a  copy  of  a  Memorandum  on  the  need  of  "  City  Survey 
preparatory  to  Town  Planning,"  prepared  by  the  Cities  Committee 
of  the  Sociological  Society.  This  Memorandum  includes  a  summary 
of  the  Committee's  work  and  recommendations;  an  indication  of 
the  dang-ers  of  town  planning  before  survey  and  of  the  method  and 
use  of  the  preliminary  survey ;  and  an  outline  scheme  for  City  Survey 
and  its  associated  local  Exhibition,  corresponding  to  that  of  Edin- 
burgh above. 

NOTE  II. — The  cordial  thanks  of  both  editors  of  this  survey  are 
due  and  tendered  (a)  for  loans  of  original  drawings  to  Mr.  Bruce 
Home,  and  of  many  valuable  photographs  to  the  Photographic 
Society  of  Edinburgh,  and  to  Mr.  Frank  C.  Inglis ;  (b)  to  their  assist- 
ants Mr.  Robert  Dykes,  Miss  Geddes,  and  Mr.  Alastair  Geddes. 

NOTE  III. — The  success  of  the  Town  Planning  Exhibition  justifies 
the  suggestion  of  a  further  "Cities  Exhibition,"  which  should  be 
a  graphic  presentment  of  the  Development  of  Cities  and  of  their 
historic  and  sociological  Interpretation,  as  well  as  be  more  fully  and 
systematically  representative  of  the  best  methods  of  Town  Planning 
and  of  the  possibilities  of  City  Development. 

Elements  towards  such  a  Cities  Exhibition  are  at  present  being 
collected  and  provisionally  arranged  at  Crosby  Hall,  Chelsea.  These 
include  (a)  a  selection  of  typical  plans,  &c.,  of  city  improvements, 
garden  villages,  &c.,  from  the  recent  Exhibition,  and  others  not  there 
exhibited,  usually  upon  a  smaller  scale,  more  convenient  for  study  and 
comparison  ;  (b]  the  survey  of  Edinburgh,  improved  as  to  arrange- 
ment, &c.  ;  (c)  surveys  (in  various  stages  of  progress)  of  other  cities 
and  boroughs,  e.g.  Salisbury,  Chelsea,  &c.  ;  (d)  other  matters  of 
interest  towards  the  study  and  interpretation  of  cities. 

This  Type-collection  is  being  arranged  with  the  view  to  exhibition 
in  other  cities.  Particulars  can  be  obtained  on  application  to  its 
Secretary  (Crosby  Hall,  Chelsea,  or  Outlook  Tower,  Edinburgh).